Nina Bruck, Still Light at Five O’clock

Still Light at Five O'Clock - Poems from Nina Bruck

1st edition, 100 copies: Dec. 2007
2nd edition, 100 copies: Sept. 2008
ISBN: 978-0-9868890-1-1
Price: $10 CDN/US including shipping
25 pages
21 poems
Status: Out of Print.  However, a bound photocopy can be ordered from for $15 CA or US including postage.

  • Nina Bruck was interviewed and read from Still Light on CBC Radio 1, The Sunday Edition (host: Michael Enright), and was featured on CBC TV’s Montreal Matters.
  • Winner of the 2008 Writer’s Circle of Durham Region Poetry Chapbook Challenge
Judges’ comments:

The poetry: This collection is a mature, wry, and accessible series of delightful, sure and confident poems. It is peopled with clearly evoked characters, places, and times – spanning the period from the ‘30s to the present – and captures exactly the different ages the poet lives through. There is no self-pity here, despite some rough times: radiation treatments faced with the hilarity of accurate observation (“Three young technicians aim my breast / at The Machine, / flee to another room”); the memory of a dead father beginning to fade, his cane in the basement “casting no shadows”; and the elegant sense that even after a lengthy failed marriage, the better memories will keep returning (“I made myself a dry martini, / missing the cool precision of his lemon peeler – / its perfect spiral”). And then there’s a playful but expert wordplay, the kind of thing that continues to make poetry, despite the seriousness of the theme, fun (“to the cold heat / in the sweat’s pit / where the orange rots / then the hot’s not / to the deaf eyes / and the tom thumb / and the legs bite / where the clocks run / and the song stops / on the second hand / and there’s no land / to land on”).

The chapbook: The book displays perfect, simple production values, the cover unadorned and of the same colour as the pages. Its outsized format and generous typeface contribute to the delight and seriousness of the collection. We have nothing but praise for the publisher’s production of this book.

*The two other winners were Teresa Donat Banks for Resident Alien and Bill Howell for Ghost Test Flights.


The day my husband left
our G.P. choked on oaths un-Hippocratic.
“If pain persists,” he cried,
“throw his clothes out the window.”
I watched them fly: socks, shorts, shirts –
every single tie.

The day my husband left
I made myself a dry martini,
missing the cool precision of his lemon peeler –
its perfect spiral.

Nina Bruck, 1923-2015, was a poet possessed of the quickest intelligence and surest eye. Her lyrics, even at their most profound, are leavened by playful wit and a warm, easygoing sensuality. Ms Bruck’s poetry appeared in the Canadian Forum, in the Canadian League of Poets Vintage 96 and 97 anthologies, and was read on CBC radio (Morningside Papers and The Sunday Edition). In 1992, she won First Prize in Matrix Magazine’s “New Voices from Quebec” Competition. She also brought her talent as a keen observer to photography. Her colour photographic series “Signs of Life” was featured in a solo exhibition at the McCord Museum in Montreal.

CBC Books has re-posted David Gutnick’s mini-doc on Nina from The Sunday Edition.